David Shearer is talking about reshuffling the Labour front bench. Stuff report:
In comments to The Nation at the weekend, Mr Shearer said there would “quite possibly” be changes to his front bench line-up.
“[I'm] certainly looking at where we can improve. Obviously you would want to do that,” Mr Shearer said.
He declined to say when a reshuffle might happen, but on announcing his line-up before Christmas last year, he indicated there would be a review within 12 months.
“With 34 MPs I need all my team contributing fully,” Mr Shearer said at the time.
“I have made clear that I will be looking closely at the performance of every MP and strong performers will be rewarded.”
Options are then discussed, with Chris Hipkins being an obvious candidate for promotion, the manner and effectiveness of his approach was highlighted in parliament last week.
Whether the Davids Parker and Cunliffe would be reshuffled is not mentioned but will surely be of most interest. Parker is seen more as an earnest economy boffin, Cunliffe can be a strong performer but is also polarising.
But Stuff gives most attention to the other David, Clark.
The stand-out candidate for promotion elsewhere would appear to be first-term MP David Clark, who has had a strong run since taking over the Dunedin North seat from the retiring Pete Hodgson at last year’s election.
Dr Clark is leading a bill to “Mondayise” public holidays and had a bill to lift the minimum wage to $15 an hour narrowly defeated last month.
Mr Shearer announced last month that Dr Clark had been awarded a seven-week Eisenhower Fellowship to study in the United States in March next year.
“In his first year as an MP, David has already marked himself out as one to watch,” Mr Shearer said at the time.
David Clark has been noticed and talked up by a few political journos.
He had a very lucky beginning in parliament with ‘his’ Mondayise bill being drawn from the ballot. He was actually handed the bill after it was initated by Grant Robertson.
He is also lucky that it looks like he will (just) get the numbers to get his bill through, due to Peter Dunne providing the deciding vote. Clark did nothing to earn this vote, Dunne offered it because he and United Future agreed with the bill, despite Clark throwing mud at Dunne over the MOM bill.
Clark was also lucky to draw a second bill from the next ballot, the minimum age bill. He was unable to get this past the first vote. He had a reality check on this in his first big TV interview (on Q+A), not being able to answer basic questions on it regarding costing. He was also taken to task for making claims trying to support the case for the bill that couldn’t be supported.
Hopefully he learned from that experience.
Clark is also lucky that the Labour lineup is so small and weak at the moment. It’s an easy situation for those who get noticed. It doesn’t matter whether they are noticed through luck or efforts and ability.
David Clark is a nice guy, means to do well in parliament, and has an interesting and varied CV. And he doesn’t have a union background.
He started in his political career as a party parrot – if he wants to widen his support he will need to establish his own political credentials and prepare himself better for the rough and tumble of political debate and media exposure.
And he should learn to listen to a wider audience, and not just to his faithful supporters.
If Clark gets fast tracked up the Labour ranks it will in part be due to luck on several counts. There’s no problem with that, success often involves luck.
The key will be how well Clark takes advantage of his lucky run, and how well he lifts his performance to match his position.
It’s early days in his political career, not yet a year into his first term, so he has time to learn and grow.